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Mounted police officers of Greater Manchester Police Mounted Unit are among the first candidates to benefit from free places offered on the Safety with Horses distance-learning course.

The award-winning programme, developed by the Equi Study area at Warwickshire College, has been designed to improve safety standards in the equine industry. Accredited 18 months ago, it has previously run mainly through other colleges.

“There is a real need in the equine world for health and safety training in stables but, because equine businesses are generally based in small, rural locations, courses held at main college centres are not always accessible,” said Karen Tolley, Equi Study Manager, who created the programme.

The distance-learning package is designed to overcome this difficulty, by taking the training to the student. Candidates who complete it successfully in the timescale receive a national award. There is no charge for registration, materials or taking the exam.

Ms Tolley explained that the course was run over eight weeks, and would require about two to three hours study time per week.

In addition to larger organisations such as the mounted police, the Safety with Horses programme is intended for horse owners and yards.

“We have had an enormous number of enquiries, about 200 in the first week,” added Ms Tolley. “And this is without a big advertising campaign. All we have is a banner on the BHS website and we are sending out a mailshot to BHS members.”

Anyone interested in enrolling for the Safety with Horses distance-learning course, should contact Equi Study, (tel: 01926 651085), safety-with-horses@warkscol.ac.uk, before 30 June.